9 Takeaways from 99U 2019

    The Adobe 99U Conference is a live experience that inspires creatives to supercharge their work and make their ideas happen.


    As a 99U volunteer, I assisted the production team in prepping breakout sessions with design leaders and executives from across the world. I worked with VIP speakers and trained other volunteers on how to use the Splash App to check-in guests, all while gathering inspiration and picking the brains of creative leaders. Here are 9 of my favorite insights from this year's conference.

    Technology is Not Innovative

    Technology itself is not innovative and creative – new ways that humans use technology is innovative and creative. AI can be used to predict when someone with manic depression will have a manic episode and AI can be used to treat diabetes. But without a human telling AI what to do, AI would be just another robot. (Vivienne Ming, Co-Founder & Executive Chair, Socos Labs)


    Data Does Not Exist

    Data is a human creation. You can create your own language with the data you collect and share. You aren't limited to what exists—you can create your own data-sharing visual system. (Giorgia Lupi, Partner & Design Director, Accurat) Learn about Accurat's interactive AR Starbucks Walls in Milan.


    Boredom Leads to Creativity

    When do you come up with the most creative ideas? The shower? Brushing your teeth? Driving? As you fall asleep? Boredom isn’t a bad thing. You can’t come up with new, unique and creative ideas if you never allow your brain to go into autopilot and access your unconscious mind. We love our screens, smartphones, and tech, but sometimes we need a break in order to access our imagination. (Kyle T. Webster, Design Evangelist, Adobe)


    Messaging is Becoming Human

    Messaging that is taking over is conversational and human—emojis, gifs, engaging, and less professional. “Words have never mattered more.” It’s what separates humans from bots. Choose the moments to recognize your humanness. Your audience, regardless of who they are, want to be seen and valued. (Anna Pickard, Head of Brand Communications, Slack)


    Empathy is Not About Being Nice

    Empathy itself is passive. Applied Empathy is the act of self-aware perspective-taking to gain richer, deeper understanding. When using empathy, consider how you can solve the problem at hand. Is it aspirational, mindful, intellectual, community, inspired, emotional, or physical? Is it a mix of all of them? (Michael Ventura, Founder & CEO, Sub Rosa)

    What's your empathic archetype?


    Define Your Style

    Your shortcuts will become your style. Zach inspires the digital world with his trippy animations and daily sketches on instagram. (Zach Lieberman, Co-founder, School for Poetic Computation) Check out his instagram — he's got over 67k followers.


    Cultivate Your "Creative Inhale"

    Deep listening leads to better solutions—fill yourself with warmth, become more perceptive, and create a space for openness. As a result, you will receive more information. Good design cannot happen in a vacuum, so make sure you listen deeply to those around you. (Jessica Orkin, President & Rie Nørregaard, Managing Creative Director, SYPartners) Listen to Jessica's podcast.


    Bring Out Your Inner Child

    Stop telling your inner child "no" and start creating bigger ideas. Encourage your team by changing your conversations from “yes, but” to “yes, and” and transform brainstorming sessions from your idea into our idea. (Duncan Wardle, Founder, id8 & innov8)


    The Problem with Society

    The major problem in society is a lack of imagination—assumption of others’ actions and intentions leads to racism, sexism, classism, and other prejudices. "Everything that makes me strong is what I could imagine for myself and the world around me." (Ashley C. Ford, Writer, Editor, Speaker, Host)


    Would you attend next year? Without a doubt, I would!


    "On behalf of 99U and the Preview Events team, I want to thank you all so much for making this year’s 2019 99U Conference a success! I truly appreciate your dedication, commitment and eagerness in helping us out and donating your time to us this year. The overall feedback from the teams, and event attendees regarding the volunteers was overwhelmingly positive - you were all rockstars!" —Eleni Simos, 99U 2019 Volunteer Coordinator



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